1992 Best of Show Winner
May 10, 2021
1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Brewster Town Car shown by J. B. Nethercutt
Actress Constance Bennett first laid eyes on this Rolls-Royce at the New York Automobile Show of 1936. She immediately bought it and had it shipped to her home near Hollywood. It is said that Bennett paid approximately $17,000 for the car and then recouped that cost by renting the car to filmmakers. It had a substantial role in “The King and the Chorus Girl” starring Carole Lombard and appeared in several other films.
“It had quite a ‘movie career,’” wrote Bennett in a note to one of the car’s later owners. “For its ‘acting services’ it was a standing joke in Hollywood that the car received more salary than many players. Its salary was $250 a day with a minimum guarantee of three days.”
The car was certainly adept at changing roles. Chassis 69 WJ was an experimental chassis produced in 1930, and the factory kept it initially for more than a year. In 1931, complete with Trouville Town Car body, it was sent to a Mr. Fitkin of New York, but the car was rebodied by Brewster in 1935, prior to its appearance at the auto show in 1936.
Bennett’s ownership ended in the late forties—it is said that her husband lost it in a poker game in Oregon City, Oregon—and the car passed from owner to owner, residing for a time in Oregon, Washington and Florida.
J.B. Nethercutt purchased the car in the late eighties and completely restored it. The intricate caning effect on the sides was recreated just as it was initially; each line was drawn by hand with a bead of paint, much as a decorator pipes frosting onto a cake. Even the runningboards are noteworthy; they were recreated of steam-bent mahogany. The restored car debuted at the 1992 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, winning Best of Show. It has since garnered many awards and accolades at other shows, including Best of Shows at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and the San Marino Motor Classic.